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Tokyo March 2009

Installation view, Krobath Wien 08.09.–07.11.2009

In this exhibition, Sofie Thorsen follows up on the layout drawings of the facades of the Ginza, the traditionally most innovative and still important shopping street of the city. They were made between 1930-31 by Kenkichi Yoshida, artist, designer and co-developer of Modernology, a theory that is based on the experiences of the great Kanto earthquake of 1923 and investigated the phenomena of urban modernity in the barracks architecture that occurred soon after. The drawings are an analysis of the existing façade compositions and focus particularly on commercial – Western as well as Japanese – typologies, which appeared in the form of neon signs, signboards, and shop
windows and which are made readable in an abbreviation. Similar to the later Pop art, commercial life was seen as a feature, as an experimental field, and last but not least, as a stage for modern life. With the camera, Thorsen zooms into these streets, takes details, enlarges, reduces again, showing graphic overlays as well as architectural details, which are characterized by a huge variation. The individual images are shown in the slide installation „Tokyo March“, which analogous to the lyrics consists of four chapters played in different rhythms. The second focal point of the slide installation reassembles in a collage-like manner the photographic archive material further deciphering the meaning of the drawings. The pictures are so blended into each other that they set the architecture in motion. Thorsen breaks out the structures behind the abstraction in order to track down the architectural ideas of this drawn row of houses. Only the individual architectural detail of the façade, singular and in itself significant, is in b/w lit on the wall doubling the concept of the façade. This complex image plane is not only a reconstruction of the facts, but makes the readable and non-readable façade mutually interpretable.

Bettina Steinbrügge
Excerpt from the press release

Sofie Thorsen,
Krobath, 9. 9.– 7. 11. 2009

Installation with slide projection. 154 slides, 11 min